LABOUR MP Keith Vaz, facing suspension for expressing willingness to purchase cocaine for others, said he will not stand for re-election.
In a statement released yesterday evening (10), Vaz, 62, said he will be standing down as MP for Leicester East after 32 years representing the constituency.
He said: “I have decided to retire after completing 32 years as the member of parliament for Leicester East. In that time I have won eight general elections. It has been an honour and a privilege to serve my constituency since I came to the city in 1985.
“I want to thank the people of Leicester East for their absolute loyalty and support. Leicester and especially the people of Leicester East will always be in my heart.”
Reacting to Vaz’s retirement, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said the father-of-two has paved the way for more BAME people to become involved in politics.
Corbyn said: “His work in parliament has been exemplary, as Britain’s first Asian origin minister, chair of the home affairs select committee, a campaigner on diabetes issues and most recently trying to help the peace process in Yemen. Our work to combat racism and bring our diverse communities together is far from over.”
Vaz’s announcement comes after the Commons standards committee found he “caused significant damage to the reputation and integrity of the House of Commons.”
He was suspended for six months after the standards commission found that he had expressed a willingness to buy cocaine for male prostitutes.
He also rejected the standards committee’s claim that he had been “evasive or unhelpful” during the investigation into his conduct.
A statement on Vaz’s website said he was admitted to hospital on the day the committee’s report was published. It claimed that he had been receiving treatment for a “serious mental health condition” since details of the encounter were published in 2016.